Web-master's note: Absalom Looney was one of my g... grandfathers. His daughter, Elizabeth, married David Potts, father of Isaiah Luna Potts. Amos Potts, mentioned below, was first cousin to David, and thus one of our distant cousins. William R. Carr, Jan., 2001

Excerpts  from various Looney Family Web-sites (reformatted for this page):

The Looney Family

In about 1724, Robert and Elizabeth Looney came to America from the Isle of Man, Great Britain, with their family, settling first in Philadelphia, Pa. and later in colonial Maryland. Soon thereafter they moved west to the new frontier and settled in Augusta County, Virginia on the James River. There on Looney Creek, Robert and Elizabeth raised their family, established the first ferry crossing of the James River, built a mill, grew crops and raised livestock.
    Due to the constant conflict between France and England, as well as the threat of Indian attack, a fort was ordered built in 1755 around the Looney homesite. This fort was named Fort Looney and was at the junction of Looney Creek and the James River. This fort was part of a series of forts ordered built along the frontier to protect settlers and to keep the French from claiming the territory. Fort Looney was visited in 1756 by Col. George Washington, future first president of the United States.
    The Looney sons were frontiersmen and pioneers. Some fought and died with the British against the French and Indians. Some were killed by Indians during frequent frontier raids on settlers while others helped to explore and expand the frontier boundaries first into southwestern Virginia and eventually into Tennessee Indian Territory.
    The Looney sons and grandsons fought against the British in the War of Independence. John Looney was wounded in the siege of Savannah, Georgia in 1779. He was later granted a total disability pension of $8.00 per month for this service by special Act of Congress in 1837.
    In 1783, Absalom Looney went to survey lands in the Cumberland District, "Wilderness", of Tennessee which were to be set aside for soldiers of the Continental Line and others. The first court in Sullivan County, Tennessee was established in the home of Moses Looney in 1780. Absalom Looney was appointed Justice of the Peace for Hawkins County, Tennessee in 1790. As the frontiers moved west and south, the Looney families also flourished and expanded to new territories...

William (4) Looney

Robert (1) Looney,  Absalom (2) Looney,  Michael (3) Looney

William (4) Looney was born about 1785 in what is now Hawkins County, Tennessee. He descends from a long line of frontiersmen: his father, Michael Looney, was a Revolutionary War veteran and an early settler in Stanley Valley, near Rogersville, Hawkins County, Tennessee. William's grandfather, Absalom Looney, discovered the area in Virginia known as Abb's Valley. William's great-grandfather, Robert Looney, was the first of his line to arrive in America, with wife Elizabeth, in the early 1720s from the Isle of Man. Robert established Looney's Mill, Looney’s Ferry, and Looney’s Fort, all important frontier outposts in Virginia near the James River.

William Looney is recorded as one of the first settlers on Eleven Point River in what is now Randolph County, Arkansas. William and two Stubblefield cousins (probably Fielding and Coleman) arrived at Eleven Point possibly as early as 1802. William and cousins often traveled a two-week journey of 135 miles as far as Cape Girardeau, Missouri to purchase supplies.

William, his Stubblefield cousins, and others who came shortly afterward including the Baker, Garrett, McIlroy, Rice, Vandergriff, Wells, and White families laid the foundations for communities such as Dalton, Elm Store, and Gladesville.

During this period, William Looney served as justice of the peace and magistrate in Davidson and Union townships (1816 – ca 1825), and Captain in the 3rd Regiment, Arkansas Militia (commissioned 1820).

In 1823, William was granted patents for land south of Dalton. He, wife Rhoda Stubblefield (daughter of William Stubblefield and Elizabeth McDaniel) and family, built a home that still exists today. The William Looney Homeplace is noted as one of the oldest in Randolph County. At its peak, the old homeplace included 1,500 acres, and its orchards produced as much as 1,500 gallons of brandy each year. By about 1850, the extended Looney, McIlroy, Stubblefield, and Wells families owned most of the land near Eleven Point River in a 30-mile stretch from Elm Store to Birdell. The old homeplace has remained in the hands of William Looney’s relatives, descendants of the Downey, Rice and Stubblefield families.

In 1843, William Looney purchased land in Pocahontas (originally called Bettis' Bluff) from Thomas Drew. The initial map of Pocahontas showed that William Looney owned the whole block on the south side of the old court square.

The town of Pitman was established near Current River in 1853. Among its first businessmen were William Looney’s son, Michael Looney, and son-in-law, Erasmus Pitman. Together, they built a steam/saw/grist mill and a distillery.

William Looney died April 1846 in Randolph Co, Arkansas. His wife, Rhoda, died in August 1847. They had 10 children:

Elizabeth Looney married David Ferrill,
Cinderalla Looney married John Wells,
Mariah Looney (apparently never married),
Thena Looney married Pleasant Stubblefield,
Serena Margaret Looney married Abraham (Absalom) B. Stubblefield,
Absalom Looney married Mary Emily White
Epps Looney married (1) Elizabeth Stubblefield and (2) Mary Ann Stubblefield,
William S. Looney married (1) Mary "Polly" Wells and (2) Catherine Louisa Garrett,
Michael Looney married (1) Nancy Kinkard and (2) Artemicia Bailey Jobe Simmons,
Temperance Looney married Erasmus D. Pitman.

Excerpt from:


by Leroy W. Tilton

Part 4

Absalom Looney Branch

(Second Generation)


Absalom 2 Looney was, almost certainly, born after 1726, because his name is not on the Augusta County muster roll of 1742 with those of four of his older brothers. Since Absalom had a "family" in 1753 or 1754 (as we shall see later), he was certainly older that Peter 2 Looney who was born in Philadelphia in 1734. There may be a question as to whether Absalom or John 2 was the older because a John Looney was taxed in Augusta County in 1748. This tax, however, may have been merely for ownership of a horse, perhaps by a youth of 16 years, and John, as we shall see, married a girl born in 1739 or 1740. Thus we estimate that Absalom 2 Looney was born about 1729 +/- 3, before his parents came to America.

He probably lived with them on the upper Potomac River not so far from Hagerstown but on the south bank, and the school books that are referred to by some of the descendants of Michael Looney probably belonged first to Absalom who, rather than Michael, may have had brief schooling at Hagerstown at the age of 8 or 10 years.

Absolom Looney must have married in or very near 1750. He was living with his family on the Bluestone, a branch of New River, in 1753 or 1754 when his father Robert sent for him because of danger from the Indians at the outlying settlement and offered him part of the home place. Absalom and his family came and settled in the "Draft", on Draper's place, on land where his brother Daniel had been living. Daniel 2 Looney made to Absalom (Abraham according to Chalkley's book) a deed dated 10 September 1754 (delivered in August 1763) for this place of 180 acres on Long Run, a branch of James River. Absalom bought 248 acres on the south side of James River in 1754. In 1759 he may have, for a short time, been in Carolina with his older brother Adam 2 Looney. This statement is based on the following evidence: On 11 October 1759 when Robert 1 Looney and Elizabeth agreed with their sons Peter and David, Robert 1 proposed to buy from Absalom his claim to some of the land. Accordingly, John Buchannon testified, in August 1764, that Robert 1 had stated that he, Robert, had paid Absalom L10 on Absalom's return from Carolina.

On 15 May 1765 Absalom and Margaret Looney deeded the 180 acres on Long Run to Peter 3 Looney, heir of Peter 2 Looney, and the deed recites a "corner of another tract belonging to Peter, formerly in possession of Robert Looney, Sr. " This deed is marked delivered on 26 September 1785. (Augusta Deed Book 12, p. 185; Chalkley II, p. 430.) In 1768 Peter Looney's executors mention cash paid to Absalom ("Abraham") Looney.

Absalom and his family probably moved from the tract on Long Run, perhaps a little further west, before or about 10 September 1767 when he patented 54 acres on Stone Run, a branch of Craig's Creek. (Augusta D.B. 37, p. 94) He must have lived here during much of the latter part of his life, "near Ripley's reference to his ancestor. On the same date Absalom 2 had a grant of 166 acres on Craig's Creek (according to Kegley). (Did he also have a grant of 60 acres on 25 January 1769 on the south side of James River? See Kegley, page 348, at seq. This 60 acres was surveyed for Robert Looney in 1762.)

Absalom Looney and Amos Potts were appointed to review and report on a road on Sinking Creek, 13 March 1771. It is stated concerning early settlements in Tazewell County, Virginia, that Absalom Looney, "the hunter", discovered Abb's Valley on the Bluestone and settled there in the valley in 1771, but the evidence cited above indicates that the discovery and original temporary settlement may have occurred much earlier, in the 1750's.

The Absalom Looney, assignee of Benjamin Davis, who had a grant of 114 acres on Craig's Creek 1 June 1782 might be thought identical with Absalom 3 were it not that the survey of this land was made 1 November 1754 when the land lay within the limits of Botetourt County, Virginia. (Va. Grants Bk. F, 509.)

Concerning the wife of Absalom 2 Looney, the records yield only the name Margaret from the deed of 15 May 1765 when Absalom and Margaret conveyed the 180 acre tract on Long Run to Peter 3 Looney, heir of Peter 2. At this time 8 or 9 of Absalom's 11 children had been born.

William 6 Gaines Looney, in his manuscript on this branch of the Looney family, refers more than once to a second marriage for Absalom 2, but not with desirable clarity. First, he states that Michael 3 was son of Absalom 2 and "Peggy" of Craig County, Virginia (out from Botetourt Co.). Later, after the statement: "Michael was the eldest," he inserted a note "and 1/2 brother to all the other children." Again: "in the meantime Michael's half brother and sister, Benjamin (known as Big Ben) and Mrs. Priscilla (Peggy) Caldwell settled in East Tenn., Ben in Stanley Valley, Hawking Co., and Mrs. Priscilla (Peggy) Caldwell in Knox Co., "

Among papers left by William Gaines Looney there is a reference to Mike as Absalom's eldest child "by Murldeen," or something like that.

From William gains Looney's remarks it is possible to make different assumptions concerning the wives of Absalom 2 Looney:

1. His 1st wife, mother of Michael, possibly named Murldeen, d. ca 1752. H m. (2) Margaret called "Peggy" who became mother of all the other children.

2..He m. (1) Peggy who d. at or shortly after the birth of Ann ca 1767 (and the removal from Long Run to Stony Run), and m. (2) the mother of Priscilla and Benjamin.

3. He m. (1) Murldeen, mother of Michael; m. (2) Peggy, mother of 8 children, Elizabeth to Ann, incl., and m. (3) the mother of Prescilla and Benjamin.

Aside from the reports b William Gaines Looney, no evidence has been found that Absalom 2 Looney married more than once.

Absalom 2 Looney's wife (or wives) must have died before 28 September 1791 when Absalom Looney of Botetourt County marked his will with an A, leaving 5 sh. to each of 4 sons and 7 daughters, and all else to son Benjamin without mention of his own wife. John Smyth and Stephen Holstine were named executors and he witnesses were Dan'l Givens, John Summerfield, Rich's Summerfield, and Will Givens. The will was proved at June Botetourt court 1796. (Will Book A, 426)

A deed was made in December 1791 by an Absalom Looney to Dan'l Givens for land on Craig's Creek and same was recorded in June 1792. An examination of Craig County records should yield something of value concerning this transaction.

Concerning Absalom's death, William Gaines Looney says: "Later he sent for his son Michael, then in Tennessee, to come to him, that they (meaning his son Ben's wife and her sister) were not good to him and when he got there he found him dead and buried him there."

An inventory shows Absalom's estate was appraised 20 July 1796 by Henry Holstein, Hugh Caldwell and John Taylor.

The children of Absalom 2 Looney were all born either on Long Run, a branch of the James River at the present Buchanan, a few miles southwest of Natural Bridge in that part of old Augusta County that became Botetourt County in 1770, or somewhat further west on Stone Run, a branch of Craig's Creek. The daughters, except Ruth and Catherine, were all married when Absalom made his will. No Bible record has been found. Michael's birth date is known only as 1755 + or - from his listing in the 1850 census. The only complete birth date is that of Peter, as given by the family records of his descendants.  Birth dates for the other children as given below have been estimated to agree with what is known about those above mentioned and with the order in which their names are mentioned in their father's will.

  1. Benjamin, as listed by census enumerators in 1830 and in 1840, was b. within the limits 1775 + or - 3.
  2. Michael 3 Looney b. say 1751. See 3d Gen.
  3. Elizabeth Looney b. say 1753, m. ante 1791 David Potts
  4. Peter 3 Looney b. 24 Nov. 1755. See 3d Gen.
  5. Mary Looney b. say 1757; m. (1) ca 1776 Edwin William
  6. Carvin who was killed by Indians in 1780 4 Mi. east of Washborough; m. (2) 1781 by the chairman of the Committee of the Provisional Government to Edward Swanson. Mary Looney had 2 children, Mary (Carvin) Rutherford and William Carvin; and then Peter, Richard, and James Swanson. Mary is said to have died Between 1811 and 1823.
  7. Margaret Looney b. say 1759, m. (Botetourt bond) 5 January 1778 Alexander Caldwell of Knox Co., Tenn. Their dau. Jessie Caldwell m. 18 March 1821 Benj. 4 Looney, her 1 st cousin, of Hawkins Co. , Tenn.
  8. Jonathan 3 Looney b. say 1761. See 3d Gen.
  9. Absalom 3 Looney b. say 1763. See 3d Gen
  10. Ruth Looney b. say 1765. m. (Botetourt bond) 15 May 1790 John McCormick.

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